Staff at the Supreme Court Kampala were on Wednesday stunned when lawyer Male Mabirizi filed 32,850 pages of documents to support his case at the East African Court of Justice where he is challenging the amendment of the Constitution that lifted the presidential age limit in 2017.
The East African Court of Justice, which is based in Arusha, Tanzania, has a division at the Supreme Court in Kololo, Kampala and on Wednesday, Mr Mabirizi, flanked by lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde, and Simon Wanyera, an activist, presented a catalogue of documents.
“Ugandans must know that this is a serious war. It’s time to show the judges from the five East African countries that the dictator here, who has been around for 33 years, uses violence, non-compliance, uses all crocked means to remain in power so it’s their time rule on the same,” Mr Mabirizi told journalists.
“I am going to file these 32,000 pages of authorities here at the court’s division and thereafter, I set off to Arusha in Tanzania by bus because. I can’t afford an air ticket. My first argument will to ask the regional court to halt the 2021 presidential elections until my reference is heard because they can’t leave the elections to go on, yet I am challenging the candidature of one of the contestants,” he added.
The East African Court of Justice has set October 29-30 of this year as the days it will hold a pre-hearing of the presidential age limit case filed by Mr Mabirizi. The pre-trial will be heard by a panel of five justices led by the Principal Judge, Monica Mugenyi.
Mr Mabirizi claims that the Uganda government amended the presidential age limit clauses (102b) through violence, deployment of military police in and outside Parliament among other misdeeds, which actions he says are unconstitutional.
He also states that the same age limit amendment was done without complying with the strict procedures contained in the constitution, acts of Parliament and rules of procedure of Parliament.
He now wants the regional court to among others, declare that the several actions and decisions of conceptualizing, processing, pursuing and upholding the age limit amendment were unconstitutional and infringed on the Treaty that established the East African Community.
But the government in its defence said the Arusha-based court does not have the jurisdiction to hear the presidential age limit reference.
Further in its defence, government claimed the issues raised by Mr Mabirizi, have since been duly resolved by competent courts of the partner states and there is no need to revisit the same matters.